Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

Similarly, family planning programs contribute so clearly to individual freedom of choice and to the health and welfare of mothers and children that the case for allocating to them the modest funds requires could well be considered self-evident. "Modest" is indeed the correct word to describe the funds allocated to family planning programs so far. In most countries, when such programs are operated by the Ministry of Health, they account for between 1 and 13 percent of the budget of that ministry.* As shown in Table 14, family planning budgets are less than 2 percent of the defense budget in Korea and Pakistan and less than 1 percent in Taiwan and Singapore. Diverting the entire budget of the very successful Taiwan family planning program into education would buy only 1 extra day of education per year; in Ceylon, the figure is a little higher, and in India it reaches 9 days of education. In India, Pakistan, and the Republic of Korea, where the ratio of family planning budgets to educational budgets is highest, diversion of the family planning budget into education would raise the number of children in school by only 3 or 4 percent. Therefore, one could claim that there is not much to lose and possibly much to gain by investing in family planning programs.
As might be expected, some analysts have not been content to view the need for either education or population control as "self-evident" but have applied the familiar cost-benefit technique of evaluating the case for government investments (62). Such studies for education in developed countries normally indicate that investment in education yields better returns than alternative investments; and the limited number of studies for developing countries tend to show an even greater relative advantage for investment in education (63, 64). Very high rates of return on investment in family planning programs have been indicated by studies using the technique of discounting the potential lifetime consumption and production of the unborn child back to the present (65, 66, 67, 68).
In terms of these studies, then, most developing countries may well have underinvested in both education and family planning in recent years, even if the noneconomic benefits are ignored. The rising share of budgets currently and prospectively going into both education and family planning can be seen partly as a recognition of underinvestment in the past.t The rise in India's family planning budget after limited and rather ineffectual spending in earlier years, and in Pakistan's education budget are cases in point.
*One percent in Singapore, 2 percent in Taiwan, 3 percent in Turkey, 12 percent in Pakistan, and 13 percent in India. In Korea it is 17 percent, having been as high as 30 percent in recent years (57). The very low percentages in Singapore, Taiwan, and Turkey may partly reflect a high standard of public health care, and partly (especially in Singapore and Turkey) the fact that family planning expenditures are still increasing as the programs gain momentum. The high percentage in Korea reflects a remarkably small public health budget rather than a large family planning budget.
Tin some cases, however, current high levels of expenditure would not have been justifiable until the groundwork has been laid.